Shoes | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Shoes 

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A series of brief, staccato scenes in Gloria Bond Clunie's impressionistic script captures the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Like Toni Morrison in Song of Solomon, Clunie balances history and spirituality, using real-life events as a launching pad for exploring politics during the civil rights era and (less specifically) colonialist oppression in Africa. Still, the blood never stains the show's emotional core; the overarching theme in Shoes is finding fulfillment in life's simple pleasures. Director Andrea J. Dymond pays a great deal of attention to evoking mood and tone, and the ensemble does fine work throughout. Linara Washington as the play's youthful protagonist--a composite of the four girls killed in the blast, trapped somewhere between Alabama and heaven--gives a credible, bittersweet, empathetic performance, and stage vets Ora Jones and Kenn E. Head are luminous as her grief-stricken parents. Through 2/27: Tue-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 3 PM. Wed 2/9, 2 PM only. No show Tue 2/8. Victory Gardens Theater, first-floor main stage, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000 (TTY 773-871-0682). $33-$40.

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